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UK: UK’s newest electric cars turning heads at last

Sitting outside the Barley Mow on Tilford village cricket ground, a group of early evening drinkers swing their gaze from left to right, as earnestly as fans of Andy Murray on Centre Court.

Indeed, what they’re watching has just flashed past with the quiet fizz of a tennis ball.

But this isn’t Wimbledon.

The object of their fascination is the Vauxhall Ampera, the latest electric car to arrive in the UK.

For unusually in the world of electric motoring, this is a car that actually looks rather cool: the first head-turner in its class, perhaps.

And it’s a sign that electric cars are changing fast.

Ranges are extending, charge times are decreasing and prices are about to halve.

Costs cut
In the space of a year and a half, the economics of electric motoring will have changed significantly.

Britain’s best-known electric car, the Nissan Leaf, currently sells for just under £26,000, once the government grant of £5,000 is deducted.

The Nissan Leaf is the UK’s best-known electric car
This month, the Renault Fluence will enter showrooms in the UK with prices starting from £17,500.

And by the autumn, the Renault Zoe will be with us for less than £14,000.

How has Renault achieved such price reductions so rapidly?

For starters, the company has gone for a new model of ownership.

Drivers will buy the car, but rent the battery quite separately. Depending on mileage, the rental costs will be roughly £1,000 a year.

But for that price, you get a battery that is guaranteed for life. That should mean no more worries about batteries deteriorating over time, or depressing the second-hand value of the ca


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